The British Red Cross are calling on the governments within the UK to come up with a strategy to tackle loneliness, after research found a sharp rise in people reporting loneliness.
Their new report, Lonely and Left Behind: Tackling Loneliness at a Time of Crisis, surveyed 2,000 people between July and September and found that large numbers of people had been struggling to handle the Coronavirus pandemic.
Two-fifths of people (39%) who say they are often or always lonely felt like they couldn’t cope with the impacts of the pandemic, up from 19% in May.
40% of respondents also reported that they hadn’t a ‘meaningful conversation’ in two weeks.
Other shocking figures show that 36% of adults feel like their neighbours are ‘strangers’ and 35% of adults feel that their loneliness will get worse.
Many people are reportedly feeling this way because of worries about money, employment, caring or parental responsibilities and general boredom.
The organisation is calling on both national and devolved governments to further invest in services tackling loneliness and raise awareness of alternative ways for people to connect with each other this winter.
They are also calling for them to support local authorities and health systems to identify and address those most at risk of loneliness.
British Red Cross community connector Rosie Fewings said: “We have been providing a lot of telephone support to people to try and break up the isolation. This can be a quick call to check in with people, or a longer call for them to chat about whatever they would like to.
“One of our volunteers is making 30 calls a week to people and it really helps – people need to feel connected to others at a time of crisis and we can all do our bit to help with that.”
Anybody who is struggling with loneliness can reach out to the British Red Cross on their coronavirus support line at 0808 196 3651 or access our online loneliness resources at www.redcross.org.uk/loneliness-resources